Angélique Kidjo Biography, Net Worth, Foundation and Awards
Stage Name:Angélique Kidjo
Full Name: Agélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo
Occupation: Singer, Songwriter, Actress and Activist
Date of Birth: July 14, 1960
Place of Birth: Benin
Spouse: Jean Hébrail
Agélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo is a singer-songwriter, actress, and activist who was born on July 14, 1960, in Benin. She is known for her creative music videos and wide range of musical inspirations.
She was born into a family of performers. Her mother worked as a choreographer and stage director, and her father was a musician. She has won five Grammys. She won the Polar Music Prize in 2023.
That Year, Time magazine called her “Africa’s premier diva.” On July 23, 2021, she sang at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Time Magazine put her on their list of the 100 most important people in the world on September 15, 2021.
Bono, John Legend, Jimmy Buffett, Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana, Josh Groban, Philip Glass, Sting, Ziggy Marley, Yemi Alade, Burna Boy, and Davido are just some of the acts that Angelique Kidjo has worked with.
The Thump website for Vice magazine put together a list of the Greatest Dance Albums of All Time, and her album Logozo is number 37 on it.
Kidjo speaks five languages very well: English, Fon, French, Yorùbá, and Gen (Mina). She sings in all of them, and she also has her own language, which has words like “Batonga” that are used as song names. The song “Malaika” is sung in Swahili. Kidjo uses the native Zilin vocal style and vocalese from Benin a lot.
He was born in Ouidah, which is now in Benin and was part of French Dahomey. Her father is from the Ouidah Fon people and her mother is from the Yoruba people.
Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, James Brown, Manu Dibango, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Fela Kuti, Stevie Wonder, Osibisa, and Santana were some of the artists she listened to as a child.
Kidjo started acting with her mother’s theatre group when she was six years old. This gave her a love for traditional music and dance at a young age.
The school band she joined was called Les Sphinx, and she became famous when she rearranged Miriam Makeba’s “Les Trois Z,” which was played on national radio. Kidjo made the album Pretty with her brother Oscar and the Cameroonian artist Ekambi Brilliant. “Ninive” and “Gbe Agossi” were on it, as well as a salute to Bella Bellow, a singer who was an inspiration to her.
Because the record did so well, she was able to go on tour all over West Africa. She moved to Paris in 1983 because she couldn’t be an independent artist in her home country of Benin because of ongoing political disputes.
Conflicts in Kidjo’s home country forced her to leave. In the 1980s, she went to Paris. She had originally planned to become a lawyer for human rights, but she changed her mind and now studies music. Kidjo worked several day jobs to pay for her fees at the prestigious CIM jazz school in Paris.
It was there that she met musician and producer Jean Hebrail, with whom she wrote most of her music and who she married in 1987. She first worked as a backup singer for area bands. She became the lead singer of Jasper van ‘t Hof’s Euro-African jazz/rock band Pili Pili in 1985.
There were then three more studio records by Pili Pili: Jakko (1987), Be In Two Minds (1988; produced by Marlon Klein), and Hotel Babo (1990). By the end of the 1980s, she was one of the most-seen live artists in Paris. For the Open Jazz Label.
She released a solo album called Parakou. Then, she was “found” in Paris by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records. He signed her in 1991. Prior to Blackwell’s leaving the label, she made four records for Island. It was in New York in 2000 that Columbia Records signed her and she made two records for them.
She got married in 1987 to Jean Hébrail, a French singer and producer. Their daughter Naima was born in France in 1993.
Kidjo started the Batonga Foundation in 2006 to give teenage girls in sub-Saharan Africa more power and education. The goal of Batonga is to go “beyond the paved road” by giving the most disadvantaged girls the information and skills they need to live healthy, financially independent lives.
Batonga’s data-driven method lets them find the girls that are hardest to reach, get them to join the Girls Clubs, and give them a safe place to learn, meet new people, make connections, and get better jobs.
Batonga stays true to its main goal—to bring attention to the most forgotten girls in Francophone West Africa and give them the tools they need to make a difference in their own lives and in their communities.
Kidjo was one of the few girls in Benin who went to school when she was young. People told her girls didn’t belong in school, so she made up the word “Batonga” as a happy way to defy them. In the end, it would be the name of a hit song by the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and the name of her charity.
Kidjo started the Batonga Foundation in 2006 to give teenage girls in sub-Saharan Africa more power and education. Since then, Batonga has given girls in five African countries—Mali, Benin, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, and Cameroon—5,000 years of schooling through scholarships and other forms of support.
They have also given 8,727 students in 7 schools in Benin access to wells and latrines and given 222,000 students in Benin’s poorest areas TOMS shoes for the walk to school.
Batonga started to move away from the scholarship model and official education programs that left behind society’s most vulnerable people in 2015 and 2016.
This was done with the help of the Population Council’s intentional design team. Batonga started to focus on new education programs for young women and girls who were being left out. Batonga’s main goal these days is to give girls safe places to go and teachers, teach them about life and money, and assist them in starting their own businesses.
Notable partners of Batonga include:
African Well Fund
Sigrid Rausing Trust
Angelique Kidjo is a Beninese singer, songwriter, and actress. She is one of the most successful and internationally renowned African musicians of all time. Angelique Kidjo is one of the richest female musicians in Africa, with an estimated net worth of $8 million.
Her music career has spanned over three decades, and she has released many acclaimed albums
Awards and Recognition
Time put her on their list of the 100 most important people in the world on September 15, 2021. Based on reader votes, the BBC Focus on Africa magazine named Kidjo one of the 50 most famous people from Africa in 2010. , and on November 23, 2020, the BBC named her one of the 100 Women of the Year. Forbes magazine named Kidjo the first woman to be one of “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” in 2011.
The Guardian named her one of its Top 100 Women in art, movies, music, and fashion. She was called “The undisputed queen of African music” by the Daily Telegraph in London during the 2012 Olympic Games River of Music Festival. NPR in the United States called her “Africa’s greatest living diva” in March 2013.
Kidjo is one of the “2014 Most Influential Africans” according to New African magazine and Jeune Afrique.The 2015 issue of Forbes Afrique’s “100 most influential women” featured Kidjo on the cover.
Kidjo was chosen as vice-president of the Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs (CISAC) on June 6, 2013. She now lives in New York City and sometimes writes for The New York Times there.Kidjo has been given honorary doctorates by Middlebury College, UCLouvain, Yale University, and Berklee College of Music.
Kidjo won the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2015.
In 2016, Amnesty International gave him the Ambassador of Conscience Award. Other things about her can be seen at the National Museum of African American History, which opened on the National Mall on September 24, 2016
- Prix Découverte RFI SACEM (France, 1991)
- Octave RFI (France, 1992)
- Prix Afrique en Creation (France, 1992)
- Danish Music Awards: Best Female Singer (Denmark, 1995)
- Kora Music Awards: Best African Female artist (Africa, 1997)
- Mobo Awards for Best World Music Act (UK, 2002)
- Médaille De Vermeil De La Ville De Paris (France, 2004)
- Africa-Festival Award (Germany, 2006)
- SAFDA African Pride Award (South Africa, 2006)
- Antonio Carlos Jobim Award (Canada, 2007)
- N.A.A.C.P. Image Award for Outstanding World Music Album (USA, 2008)
- Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album (USA, 2008)
- Go Global World Music Award (Denmark, 2008)
- Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic (Italy, 2008)
- Commander of the National Order of Benin (Benin, 2008)
- Making a Difference for Women Award from the National Council for Research on Women (USA, 2009)
- Afropop Hall of Fame (USA, 2009)
- Celebrating Women Award from the New York Women’s Foundation (USA, 2009)
- Premio Tenco Prize for her entire singing career
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